Friday, July 30, 2004

The Ritual

I dont understand it at all. I cant take it when people call about work and make small talk with me for agonisingly long minutes on end before finally asking me what exactly it was they had called for. Please, please dear caller upper, spare me the fact that you are doing well and that your dog, in fact, has put on some weight because he has been lazing around and drinking so much beer like any regular Bangalorean would. Spare me the whole ritual dance around the topic of the actual POINT of the call. I think I may have ranted about this before... but come on people, I am entertaining you with this one. No really.

I try to spare people this torture when I call them for work. As a result, I fear, I may have come across as rude. Instead of enquiring about said dog and the health of the individual I usually jump right into the point of my call. While some may laud me for my commendable efforts in reducing the stress of small-talk in their lives, others may wonder why I dont care enough about baloo, the dog!

Lets not get this wrong. I LIKE dogs. No really I do. And its not like everyone who calls me has a pet dog, but it makes for good humour does it not? It also conveys the whole irritating small-talk picture quite well I think.  And I dont hate small talk but there is a time and a place for everything. If I am standing around with a beer at a pub, go right ahead and tell me about your dog. I will actually respond with feigned interest (the beer helps by actually making my brain cells think everything around me is fabulous). In fact, if at such time, as my holding such beer, you were to do the whole dance around the point of your conversation, I will think you are a brilliant conversationalist.

Daytime small-talk though, just does not cut it for me, if you know what I mean. So I am at work and a client will call and talk to me about stuff and I am thinking - "I just spoke to you 3 minutes ago!! Things have NOT changed too much since then (not too much anyway)!!" Now I know the client is thinking "she is a pal, a buddy who will work on some stuff and not charge me for it if I ask her about her dog and tell her inane stuff about mine". Well, here's news for you. I dont have a dog. I am just dandy and if I was not okay, I would not have picked up your call.

Maybe thats how I should greet people when I pick up the phone. "Hello. Nidhi here. I am fine and dandy and dont have a dog. I also have no interest in your dog. How may I help you?" Hmmm... just a tad rude eh? I thought you might think that... dammit! So I should stick to my usual greeting - "What is it?" - then?


Monday, July 26, 2004


Somebody in a western multinational organisation came up with the idea that to motivate exceptional performance, we need to make everyone feel mediocre - average - "meets expectations". This was hailed by all in developing countries as a marvellous thing. We could now make people feel that they were more ordinary than they ever thought they would be and work harder at not being so ordinary after all.

The eternal question of how do we make more profits by not paying the serfs is being answered slightly differently in today's day of feel-good "people management". So my firm tells managers everywhere we go that an interesting finding of our most recent surveys has told us that companies are making a "greater differentiation" towards outstanding performers. Right. Joy. Err yeah, what does that mean? That means that more and more employees are being told they are mediocre. Fewer employees are being told they are sexy. Right.

Let us examine this - you were born one day and your parents eyes were filled with joy and hope. At the tender age of four, you decide to be a fire-fighter or a ballet dancer or an auto-wallah (glamour is made of such different things at that age) and change it slightly by the time you hit the ripe old age of 8. Its about time you started dreaming of fame and riches and all. Yeah and all that lasts right till the time you start working at about 20 or so. Thats when the cookie crumbles. Hope is still there, maybe you can study some more and be that guy who owns that cool car (though you have no clue what he does during the day, he sure does look sexy in that car.. sort of). And then you do study some more, loans and bills pile up. Companies keep telling you that ordinary is exactly what you are no matter how hard you try. Your friends seem to be doing fairly ordinary things though they make it seem extraordinary making you wonder if its just you unable to rise above your most ordinary ciscumstances. That sexy car seems to be nowhere in the vicinity of your affordability unless mommy and daddy help you with it. The one thing you thought you wouldnt be doing - taking help (because that would be the only thing that made you extraordinary in your very very very ordinary circumstances) is exactly what you end up doing.

Thats where it stands. Close to 25, and feeling more ordinary than ever before.. one of my most depressing posts in a while now. I shall end now before some people I know (you know who you are) start complaining about the length of my posts.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Dolly was fat!

It is official. I am officially lacking a social life as I knew it. On a saturday night I went for an amateurish musical and topped it off with pizza (without beer even!!). So its that time again - the time when I rip apart some part of Bangalore. Bangaloreans reading this are requested not to take it too personally. Nobody I knew was in the play I saw yesterday (and hopefully none of the actors etc were known to readers of this blog either). 

Last night, for lack of anything better to do, I stepped out for a musical. Upon reaching the theatre an hour ahead of time, I realised tickets were only available for 3 more morons. The only way to get 2 more people to go with me was by threatening to go by myself. Turns out, I managed to sucker my colleague and her boyfriend to come along with me for the musical theatrical version of Hello Dolly. You remember that dont you? The one with Barbara Streisand.. the one where she steps down those stairs while everyone sings along (but what else) "hello dolly.. well hello dolleee"

So here's the difference between the staging of musicals in Delhi and in Bangalore. Delhi musicals are slick as hell and everyone looks sexy! Its like going to the movies.. and wanting to be like the actors. In Bangalore, however, they believe more in making you glad to be part of the audience. Dolly was FAT!! She had a beautiful voice, I must add in her defence - but a FAT Dolly?? Whoever thought of that!! The backstage helpers were using torches to change the sets. So you could watch them as they stumbled across the stage in semi-darkness. Made you want to jump up and help them.

The costumes lacked lusture. For the title song, Dolly sported part of a jhadoo (read broom) with golden glitters in her hair! I think they might have rented the costumes from the local tailor or something.. The dancers managed to bounce about the place with significant effort and in quite a few cases were not even remotely coordinated. On the whole though - it was fun because one of the actors was super, all their voices were wonderful.. and I had something to do!! Can you tell I cant wait to be outta here??


Saturday, July 24, 2004

I was meant to..

I was meant to write more often. I was also meant to write about my weekend after the whole toy train ride etc because all of that was just Saturday. But I have not done any of the above. As a result, we will pretend that none of above were ever any resolutions made by me. Clearly I am not as disciplined as I had hoped to be.

Recently, I promised myself that I would make an effort to lose some weight. As soon as the word "diet" was uttered, squeals of laughter emanated from various quarters of my office. It appears, they have been witness to such resolve (or lack of it) perviously. Of course, "an effort to lose some weight" could not ever translate into "an effort to exercise maybe err.. on sundays". So diet it was. I lasted through all of 1 day with my diet of "no-coffee-or-tea-during-the-day". Lunch the very next day consisted of some extremely un-flattering foodstuffs, including a ton of ice cream. I continued to labour under the impression that I was on a diet, despite that lunch. What can I say in my defense but that I am sometimes foolish! However, more helpings of ice cream the very next day brought me to my senses. Sensory deprivation will no longer be used to look pretty (except for those gorgeous black shoes of mine which kill me everytime I wear them).

In other news, I am not quitting work. They have realised their mistake (or just cant afford to lose people right now because there are so few people and so much work) and offered to move me to the very ugly city of Mumbai! Joy!! No longer shall I have to wait weeks to meet the boyfriend. We will be in each others faces everyday!! Woohoo!! The brother arrives here next month for a weekend of fun before I give up my little palace for a house in Bangalore. Should be fun I think. I have also been assigned on a "prestigious" international assignment so I travel to Pakistan (yes I know, its not particularly different from India to be really internation travel, but then we do need a visa to visit there you know). Thats it for today methinks ... err.. over and out.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Toy Train

An old friend of mine was in town this weekend. This is not to say that my friend. Just that I have known him for a long time and err.. well sometimes people use that phrase ok? We decided to behave like tourists and spend all of Saturday finding out what Bangalore has to offer tourists. Quite honestly, I was under the impression that Bangalore attracted visitors only for the free-flowing draught beer in every corner and steak. It appears I was mistaken. They have more than that in fact.
Bangalore has parks/gardens all over the city. No wonder its called the Garden City. I never really paid attention to that. Figured it was just the beer that got to the officials when they decided to call the Silicon Valley of India the City of Gardens. So we went to Cubbon Park where 15 minutes into our stroll we realised we were back where we started. Oddly, suddenly there was a ton of kids from where we began (which I had seemingly missed seeing just a while back). Upon investigating the scene, it was discovered that paying 5 rupees got you a toy train ride which lasted probably 6 minutes. Who was I kidding? I couldnt wait to take a ride and fortunately for me, neither could my friend. So we clambered on to the train which had a proper station and everything with all the rest of the 4 year olds there. Apart from going through junk-yards at an irritating 1 km per hour, it also had a wonderfully screeching whistle and went through a rusty tunnel as well.
We followed the train ride with a trip to the botnaical gardens where in search of a 200 year old banyan tree people kept pointing us to a tree stump. Closer inspection revealed it was a 20 million year old tree fossil and the display board next to it said it was there to "inspire people". Giant dinosuar fossils may inspire me to make a movie, whale fossil might inspire me to eat fish but tree fossil would inspire me to... err... eat more veggies? Anyway, the highlight of that trip was the world's worst aquarium. The little pond had so little water that the poor fish had to lie on one side and swim. The tanks had the little fish people tend to have at aquariums at home you know. Quite ridiculous. I supposed we should not have been surprised given the ridiculously small amount of money (2 rupees) they charge for entry. To be fair, they should pay people to go there!
I realise this is turning out to be a very long post and before you decide to NEVER visit this site again, I shall end. Watch out for more in my next post.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Check me out!!

How scary am i?? Got me wrong with the whole "you like things tidy and ordered"
thing right there though. Whaddya think? Accurate? Not? Vote now!!

Wackiness: 60/100
Rationality: 56/100
Constructiveness: 38/100
Leadership: 68/100

You are a WRDL--Wacky Rational Destructive Leader. This makes you an enemy of the state. You are charismatic and winning and a very dangerous enemy. You favor justice over compassion, and would almost rather see your opponent fail than you succeed.

You impact the lives of those around you more than any other personality. People remember your name and respect you. You are a tremendous amount of fun to be around and astonishing to watch. You are generally abstinent in your habits, and you like things tidy and ordered.

When picking teams, it is smartest for others to pick yours.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


I think I am on the road to self-discovery. I recently discovered I have no patience for boring people. If within the first 10 minutes of meeting, you are not entertaining me with interesting things to say (or allowing me to entertain you by saying interesting things - I never run out of interesting things to say) I would appreciate it if you could end the evening and drop me home immediately please.

Went out for dinner with a couple of friends err.. classmates from b-school. Turns out they are planning to get married. Naturally (or so I thought)my question to them was "who is the girl(s)". Apparently, this was a mistake. Asking a man who he is planning to marry is a nosey thing to do. I have two theories on why this could be-

1. They dont know who they are planning to marry!! Mummy and daddy have brought the girl from their native village so they really dont know themselves. After all, who cares when the role of the woman is to produce children, cook and provide regular sex!
2. The girl does not know of their plans. So while they are announcing to the world they are getting married, they really are not sure how the girl will react to such plans and hence the secrecy.
3. They are lying. There is no girl. They are feeling left out because everyone they know is either already married or planning to tie the knot.

Either way, I suggest they NOT tell me they are planning to get married if they refuse to divulge personal (??) details of the said fiance like her name!! Anyway, after that, things steadily deteriorated. Conversation turned to the stock markets and real estate markets (whoopee!! perrrfect saturday night dinner conversation I say). No alcohol was had (at least that way I may have, under the influence, felt they were mildly amusing.. and perhaps amused them a bit myself) and the night ended by 11pm (Thank the Lord for small mercies.. any longer than that and I might have shed very real tears).

The moral of the story children is therefore that you must always head out on a Saturday evening with alcohol. Without substance abuse its very tough to tolerate boredom..


Its over

I have not been blogging regularly for a while now. As a result, I suspect I have lost the dozen readers I had. Some of them are still checking though (probably because I tell them to). Anyway, thought I should pop by and keep you posted (get the pun??) on my life.

They say it is not over till the fat lady sings. I would like to change that one to "it isnt over till the fat lady on a moped runs over a cyclist". It was a life-changing event you know. There I was, contemplating the meaning of life (apart from the fact it looked like a pot-hole in the road was being carefully covered by randomly shaped bricks and stones, all being overseen by a traffic policemen without a care about the traffic) and suddenly I knew that the wait was over. The indecision of whether I should quit or not came to an abrupt end. A fat lady on a moped with jasmine in her hair was hurtling towards a puny cyclist. It was a sign - it was now or never. The man could either watch her run over him or jump of his cyle and out of her way. It appeared for a moment that the man was inclined to do the former. Fortunately for him, better sense prevailed and with an impeccable sense of timing he jumped out of her way.

I have therefore decided to throw in the towel. I give up. I cannot deal with people who dont appreciate me anymore... I never really could, truth be told. The pursuit of happiness is my new goal. Originally this was a subset of my larger goal - the pursuit of greater wealth. That has been abandoned with the hope that my generous parents and loving boyfriend will repay my education loan while I pursue greater happiness.. err.. what? you didnt know you had to pay my bills now?? oops...


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Drag Fest

Last week I went for a drag show. I wondered for a while whether I should write about this man-woman who wowed Bangalore audiences. Had it not been for Kumar (say it with me – Cooh-maar!) and his troupe of gorgeous young men-women (for want of a better word for them).. I don’t think I would ever have managed to watch a show of the sort. They don’t have entertainment of the sort in Bangalore.. come to think of it, I doubt if they have stuff like that anywhere in India.

Though I must add that we have our fair share of eunuchs floating about the place, threatening to display themselves in public unless you pay them whatever you have in your wallet. Its rather scary to have them walk up to you in saris and speak in hoarse manly voices demanding large sums of money. Anyway, I digress.. this was NOT a eunuch. She was just a woman trapped in a man’s body. And boy, what a body! I couldn’t believe I was thinking at one point of time – wow! what a flat stomach! Thwack!! Yes well, I wanted to slap myself, but I WAS in public.

Kumar.. err Cooh-maahr! (yes he said it with much excitement, hence the exclamation mark) was also a stand up comic. Wow! What a treat I say. This means that apart from lip-syncing the now-famous drag theme “We are family”, he-she also has a sense of humour. Joy! However, the humour was not side-splitting, tears-in-your-eyes, cant-bear-to-have-him-her-say-another-word-because-you-cant-open-your-mouth-any-wider-to-let-the-laughter-out funny.. but it generated the occasional guffaw.

The male portion of the audience, however, did find the show quite hilarious. A little more than the female portion of the audience. I think the women were just sour with the whole man-who-looked-better-than-them deal. Ah well, Cooh-maahr! of Singapore (mind you, he knew Tamil as he was of Indian origin, it seems… they are omnipresent those Tams I tell you) sang and danced and made the high-society of Bangalore (err yeah, it was really high-society – at the interval, people lost no time in whipping out their cigars and diving to the bar for some wine-la-di-dah) laugh.

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